At a time when I am rooting around for my next move, gazing ahead to when our three children are in school full time and I am ready to step back into the world, I often hear our kids discussing their own job prospects.
“I’m going to be a cleaner,” Georgia, 6, told me the other day, as I wound up the vacuum cord. “No, I think I’ll be a teacher. Do you think I’d be a wonderful teacher?”
“Yes,” I answered, as I shoved the Dyson back in its corner.
“Are you going to work again when we’re a lot older?” Georgia’s twin brother asked on the way to kindergarten this morning. “Like maybe when we’re 10 or 12 or something?”
“Or sooner,” I said.
But the truth is that I don’t know how I will sort it out. I worry that years of child rearing have desiccated my creativity. I shudder to hear yet another interview with Sheryl Sandberg about “leaning in,” while I am still leaning out.
I wanted to change the diapers, visit the parks, cart our kids to the grocery store with me during their early years. I feel privileged to have been able to act on this desire. But while I have appreciated being a stay-at-home mom, I certainly don’t want to do it forever. And I grow wearyanswering 267 “why” questions an hour, negotiating 24/7 our childre...
“I would go crazy if I stayed home with the kids,” a working friend recently told me.
‘Precisely,’ I thought.
And today has been as scintillating as any other. After depositing our twins at morning kindergarten, Jane, 2, and I played Barbies and cars while we waited for an appraiser to move along our refinancing process. “I have to go poo poo!” Jane hollered in the middle of his visit. Griffin’s teacher emailed that our son was sad because he forgot his library book. After rifling through our shelves, behind the couch and under his bed, I abandoned the hunt for “The Orlando Magic” and went empty-handed to fetch the twins at noon. Griffin burst into tears. He and Georgia argued about who would sit in the backseat. Jane refused her peanut butter and jelly sandwich and then her nap. I ferried our three kids to the dentist. As I write this, our twins are fighting over LEGOs; Jane wants me to play Mr. Potato Head.
“I have a mom she is very annoying,” Georgia typed on the computer in one of her recent career incarnations as a blogger. “I have a dad he is the best dad I could ever ask for.”
So I’ll be forgiven if I sometimes wonder why I bother with this child-rearing business. I often awaken in the middle of the night to fret about who will hire me, a middle-aged woman, after a 6-plus-year career hiatus. Interspersed between these moments of self-doubt, however, I find it refreshing to listen to the brazen innocence with which our children discuss their futures.
“I want to be a librarian,” Georgia recently said. “All you have to do is check books and put credit cards in them.”
“I’m gonna’ be a writer,” Jane said. “I’ll write checks.”
“You could be in a fantasy baseball draft and win all the time,” Griffin suggested.
“I wanna’ be a ladybug when I grow up,” Jane changed her mind.
“Jane, you can’t be a ladybug!” Georgia cried.
No, she can’t. But I do know that our children will soon spread their wings, and so, I hope, will I.